When you’ve already had four kids, you’d think breastfeeding two newborn twins would kind of be a snap. However as former Olympic athlete and doctor, Jana Pittman, has found out, every breastfeeding experience with each of her kids has been a mixed bag.
“With my oldest Cornelius, who’s now 15, I only breastfed him for six weeks but with my daughter Jemima, now five, I breast fed her for three years!” says the mum of six who gave birth 10 weeks ago to twins Quinlin and Willow.
Jana’s secret weapon
Jana, 39, has now been comfortably breast feeding both babies exclusively since they were three weeks old, thanks to her secret weapon – lactation tea.
“There is medication you can take to help promote milk supply but its only something you can take for a short while. When I was breastfeeding my fourth child, Charlie, who’s now 18 months, it wasn’t working well, so I researched galactagogues – food or herbs that may help increase supply. I found the Lactation Tea from The Breast Feeding Tea Co. on their website which contains amazing galactagogues. It tastes great and worked for me immediately – I was so relieved!”
Jana says she makes a big pot of the tea in the morning and drink cups throughout the day. “About three hours after drinking a cup I have a good let down. At the beginning when it was really tough with the twins, I was feeding eight times a day and expressing eight times a day into bottles – it was horrible! I topped up with formula as well, but now my milk supply is really good, and the babies are now just doing breast milk.”
If you’re struggling – try everything
Jana says her best advice as a doctor and a mum is that if things aren’t going well, give yourself a break, and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. “Talk to your doctor, then try a range of things. That may be lactation tea and lactation cookies – the ones from Franjos are good – it may be more pumping or medication. I know it’s a challenge hunting down what may work for you, so be open minded. I’ll be appearing at the 2022 Naturally Good Expo [on June 6-7] – encouraging more retailers to stock the tea so it’s available in more chemists and stores. I passionately feel when it comes to this area that women need to have accessible options to try.”
Jana’s longest breastfeeding stint – three years!
Having had relatively short breastfeeding stints with her oldest kids, Jana does admit that her longest breastfeeding period with daughter Jemima came as a surprise. “Each pregnancy has been so different. I didn’t want Jemima to hop off as I thought she was going to be my last baby! As I co-sleep with my kids she would slide into bed with me, and find the boob which she called ‘baboo’.
“She’d have a feed in the morning or night, or when she hurt herself and needed some comfort. If I was in public, I’d just stick her under my jumper or under some kind of cover.
“When I got pregnant with Charlie, now 18 months, she told me she didn’t like it anymore. I was like okay that’s good as at that point I was ready to stop as well. I am a believer the baby will stop when they need to. There’s a lot of judgement about women who breast feed for a long time, but really I say do what you feel is best for yourself and your child. I had talks with Jemima about it and made sure she was respectful about it. Charlie also stopped of his own accord at six months.”
Don’t judge yourself
Jana says one of the issues is that many new mums expect breastfeeding to come naturally. “Everyone thinks your baby will just suck, feed, and fall asleep. But so often it’s not like that. Sometimes you just have an undersupply – while others have an oversupply! Expectant mums should know that breastfeeding can be a challenge and to not judge themselves against other mums.
“If you are really struggling, you can also engage a lactation consultant. I began working with one when I had Charlie and have been in contact with her about the twins. Sometimes it takes a team to raise a baby.”
The secrets of lactation tea
Jana says she greatly related to the story of Jordana Edwards, co-creator of the Lactation Tea, who developed the product after troubles breastfeeding her own babies.
“Our Lactation Tea was developed with my mother, a naturopath and medical herbalist,” explains Jordana. “We designed a unique tea that increases supply but is also fenugreek free. While fenugreek is quite a good stimulator of milk production in mothers, it has some side effects that warrant its use with caution.
“We opted instead to use Goat’s Rue, Blessed Thistle, Nettle and Vervain which are incredible galactagogues and blended the herbs with the delicious flavours of Hibiscus, Lemongrass, Rose and Rosehip, so it is both an effective and delicious herbal tea.”
Available from the business’s website, the tea is also stocked in selected pharmacies Australia wide. “Ideally we would love one large group of health/whole food stores or pharmacies to be a part of this solution and partner with us to help the breastfeeding mothers of Australia,” says Jordana. “But we are also very interested in the independent retailers and stores, as they have local community relationships. We’re very optimistic as sales have been amazing. We’ve only being in business for two years, we have doubled our sales year on year and the feedback has been great.”